Why Pay for professional Audio Engineering?
While many producers/songwriters are competent engineers themselves, having a third parties’ perspective provides an objective point-of-view on a track’s strengths and weaknesses. A fresh, and well trained, set of ears can turn a song from good to great by hearing and understanding what type of emotion the song is evoking. A proficient audio engineer can take that emotion of a track and enhance it to create a stronger emotional response.
What is Mastering?
Mastering is taking the mixed single audio file and ensuring it translates well to all mediums, is at industry loudness, and adds sonic quality. Having a song that sounds great on car speakers, ear buds, or a home theatre system is the end goal of mastering. Using similar tools to mixing, EQs and compressors, mastering provides added clarity, punch, depth, and volume to a song. In addition, a mastered song will have all the individual elements of a song glued together making sure the end result feels like a finished track, rather than a work in progress. Whether it be radio play, iTunes, or Spotify streaming, a mastered track is ready for distribution.
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What is stem Mastering?
Stem mastering takes place after mixing and is usually considered an optional step, before mastering, in the music production process. While mastering deals with a single audio file, stem mastering processes groups of instrument tracks called stems. This is done primarily with EQ and compression. Once each stem is processed on their own the stems are then processed together in order to glue, and unify, them. Stem mastering usually has between 4-6 tracks to work with. Examples of stems could include vocal stem, percussion stem, kick and snare stem, bass stem, and instrument stem.
What is Mixing?
Mixing is taking the individual recorded tracks of a song and massaging them into place to create more depth, space, punch, and clarity. Each track within the song is processed separately to give each element its own space. This is accomplished by using a combination of plug-in software, and analog hardware, EQs, compressors, reverbs, delays, choruses, flangers, and many more effects. The end result of mixing is a track that sounds clear, pleases the ear, and is ready for mastering.